When I first joined the Zoning Advisory Committee (ZAC) in 2017, I thought I knew exactly who John Coutinho was. I expected an establishment politician looking to manage my concerns and diminish my influence as a young, progressive Democrat new to both town and government.
I can scarcely imagine being more wrong in my initial perceptions of an individual. While John and I don’t share a party affiliation or see eye to eye on everything, I found a man willing and excited to have a true conversation on the issues of the day, an able compromiser in the face of new information/perspectives but unashamed to stand his ground for what he believed in.
Over the past three years, it’s been my continued privilege across political and personal circumstances to call John a friend. When my basement was taking on water in the first weeks of quarantine, John was the first person I called, hoping he could connect me with someone in town to help. I never expected John to show up in a mask and gloves, come into my home, and help to isolate and identify the source of the problem. But that’s John in a nutshell — he doesn’t see partisanship or politics, he sees the people of this town and cares deeply about their well-being.
Small-town politics ultimately come down to who you can trust, and who you believe has your best interests in mind. I’m fortunate I don’t have to guess who has my best interests in mind because John has demonstrated to me and you who we can trust, not by his words but by his actions.
In these trying times, isn’t the most important measure of our government officials their demonstrated empathy for their constituents? I think so, and I think if you do too, you’ll support John. I know my family will.
— Matthew Kizner, Hopkinton